“God Draws with Crooked Lines”

Each year St. Anthony’s celebrates our founder, Father (Fr.) Alfred Boeddeker, by giving an award in his name to those who carry out his mission to “feed, heal, shelter, clothe, and lift the hearts of those in need.” This year, the award will honor Fr. John Hardin, OFM, a man who followed Fr. Alfred by becoming a Franciscan and by serving hope daily at St. Anthony’s. As Executive Director, Fr. John helped reshape St. Anthony’s programs to fit changing needs in a changing economy. He helped prepare the organization for the demands of the 21st century by replacing our deteriorated original building with two new, more efficient ones. He has been noted for connecting emotionally with our guests, and for his Franciscan qualities of personalism and joy. John Hardin graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in mathematics and was successful in the transportation business before entering the Franciscans. On his first trip overseas, John was eating dinner at the Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong harbor when he looked out and saw a group of boat people coming in from Vietnam. “The nickel dropped. I was having a great time and not worrying about anything, and here were these people who had barely survived a very dangerous journey to escape Vietnam and certainly did not know where they were going to get their next meal.” Once at home, he went to a retreat center and met the Franciscans for the first time. He has now been in the order for thirty-five years. Fr. John lived at St. Boniface with Fr. Alfred from 1986 to 1991. “Alfred’s motto was:...

Digital Justice: Reflections from our Tenderloin Technology Lab

Since I have been managing the Tenderloin Technology Lab at St. Anthony’s, I have come to believe that we are missing something significant when discussing certain aspects of technology. In my opinion, we need to steer the conversation away from the limiting concept of how to close the digital divide and instead focus on the overarching need for digital justice, the pillars of which are access, education and understanding of relevancy. Digital justice occurs when we prioritize digital inclusion, when we ask ourselves and those at every level of society to co-create conditions, as well as programs and services, that create access for all, offer and promote learner-centered education and require society as a whole to understand why it is important to include and bring everyone into the digital era. We are in the process of moving towards digital justice, and in this process there exists three categories of people, the first of which is often shocked to learn that the other two exist: CATEGORY 1: Those who a) have access to the digital era through functioning and connected devices and computers; b) know how to use their devices, apps, programs to participate in the digital era; and c) understand the relevancy of being connected in the digital era. Many people in this category not only are unaware of those who are not in this category, but are also designing platforms, programs and apps that assume all people are in this category; unfortunately, this is not the case.  CATEGORY 2: Those who are in various stages of gaining access, education and an understanding of relevancy, but who do not...

2016 at our Tenderloin Tech Lab

Hello from the Tech Lab! We’ve had an exciting few months here. We wrapped up 2015 in style with our annual Tech Lab Holiday Party, where staff, volunteers, and more than 60 guests celebrated the season with desserts, bingo, a raffle, and gift bags. In late December, the lab closed for two weeks so Assistant Manager Omid Khazaie could install updates throughout the lab. Computers in two of our drop-in rooms now have privacy screens so guests can’t see the screens of their neighbors. All workstations have new large-print keyboards as well. In the classroom, we’re in our second month of Basic and Intermediate Computer Skills courses. The next round will begin Monday, March 7. If one of your 2016 resolutions is to brush up on your computer skills, it isn’t too late to get started! These classes run for three weeks at a time, and we’re offering them every month. To sign up, call us at 415-592-2766 or email us at enroll@tenderlointechnologylab.org. In the first week of February, we organized a series of workshops, which included Job Searching with Indeed.com and Google Drive. I also coordinated our first Smartphone Basics workshop to give guests an introduction to Android devices. Some people brought their own phones, and those who didn’t were able to practice on the lab’s Android phones. Our class was full that day and we continue to hear requests for smartphone workshops, so we’re hoping to offer more of these in the coming months. Workshops returned this week! We offered a two-part social media day on Wednesday, March 2. From 10-11 am, we talked about the basics of...

Delivering Socks in the City: A Guest Post by Bay Alarm Medical

This winter, we are donating 4,000 pairs of Bombas socks to the ‘Socks in the City’ program at St.Anthony’s Foundation. The non-profit organization is located in the infamous Tenderloin district of San Francisco. They offer hot meals, medical assistance, free clothing, and more.   Many homeless and low-income families seek new socks, however they are rarely donated by people. The St.Anthony’s Foundation has increased their sock drive collection every year and have made a goal to beat 15,000 pairs of socks this year. With every pair of socks purchased from Bombas, they in turn donate a pair to someone in need. Without hesitation we ordered a few thousand socks for our customers and received a few thousand more to donate to a charity of our choice. Although socks seem like such a small clothing item, they are very much needed to keep our feet warm and comfortable, and everyone deserves to have them. Last winter we donated over 3,000 pairs of socks to Meals On Wheels of San Francisco for their ‘Socks for Seniors’ program. We were thrilled with the success of the program and decided to make a tradition out of it. 3 Ways to Help: 1. Start a sock drive of your own. You can host a sock party, start a competition among your friends or coworkers, or even organize a “sock mob”. You can then deliver or ship your awesome collection to St.Anthony’s! 2. Share our story on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. By sharing our story you can help encourage and inspire others to get involved. 3. If you can’t host a sock drive or if you aren’t into the social media...

St. Anthony’s Dining Room: Weaving a Community Together

  When I first visited St. Anthony’s, I immediately felt that it was communal environment. During lunch, I ate with the guests at the hall. Laughing and talking with them, I heard stories about San Francisco in the 60’s, when peace signs and tie-dye shirts were the fad, and a wild road trip from Colorado to California. When I returned back to my school to continue with the retreat, I knew I would never forget my St. Anthony’s experience. Having a passion for filmmaking, I stumbled upon the White House Student Film Competition. I saw that the topic was about the Impact of Giving Back and I knew that St. Anthony’s would be the perfect topic. I headed down to the Dining Hall with my camera and was inspired by the different people I met, guests, staff, and volunteers. I made this film not only for the competition, but to showcase all the different stories that make St. Anthony’s the special place that it is. I wanted to be able to document what I saw, a community and a family. St. Ignatius student, Elizabeth Leong, shares her experience of volunteering in our Dining Room through a beautifully constructed video she created for a competition at the White House. Good luck, Elizabeth, and thank you for...